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The Importance of Exercise For Your Dog

If you have just gotten a dog and want to know if he or she needs exercise, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”

All dogs require exercise daily. Regardless of their breed, or the size, they need to get out and run around or at minimum, have at least two walks a day. A walk doesn’t mean that you take him outside to do his business and bring him back home. All that you’ve ensured is that he won’t eliminate in the house.

Ideally, you have a park nearby and you can take him there to really exercise. If that’s not an option, he needs to walk at least 3 blocks in each direction. A vigorous walk is preferable over a slow one. Running is in all dogs’ blood as each was bred for a purpose.

Some were bred to herd sheep, others to chase rats on a farm, others to retrieve animals that their owners hunted and killed, others still were bred to pull snow sleds.

Dogs, if they’re in good shape, will not tire easily. This is the case with small or large dogs. If your lifestyle doesn’t allow for long walks, you should consider whether having a dog is for you.

Dogs living on a farm or in the country are likely to get an ideal amount of exercise as their owners spend a lot of their time outdoors. This is ideal, but those of you living in the city or the suburbs can exercise your dogs regularly.

Apart from dogs getting fat and being at risk for developing diabetes as a result of a sedentary life, there are other equally unpleasant results of not exercising your dog regularly.

They are:

• Bored barking – if you have every wondered why your neighbor’s dog barks day and night, ceaselessly, this is why
• Chasing one’s own tail – this is a symptom of pent up energy. Eventually this grows into an “OCD” type manifestation.
• Aggression – where else will that pent up energy go?
• Running from one end of the apartment or house to another, over and over and over again – another sign of pent up energy
• Chasing objects in the house as you are trying to clean
o Not referring to your cats but rather the vacuum cleaner or broom

Exercise needn’t always be in the form of a long walk. Here are some ideas for how you can ensure your dog gets the exercise he or she needs and it not feel like drudgery for you:

Ultimate Frisbee
Maybe as a teenager your friends and you played this fun game with each other. Dogs are amazingly adept at playing this game. Indeed the first few times he or she will drop the Frisbee or run in the wrong direction or just sit there after you’ve thrown it. Encourage him or her to run and chase it. It won’t take long, dogs live to serve you and please you.

Set Up an Obstacle Course
Given that dogs are bred to hunt or retrieve, and part of that means crawling in small spaces, running and jumping, set up a course that incorporates all the above. Again, initially you may have to encourage him or her, but it’s something that you’ll have fun doing together for hours.



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